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Amelia SanJon Gallery
Amelia Island Artists Workshop
Sandra Baker-Hinton
218A Ash Street., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
904-491-8040,  904-557-1195 cell
http://www.sandrabaker-hinton.com
http://www.ameliasanjongallery.com
Amelia Island Artists Workshop (for workshop schedules)

Ordering T-Shirts this week.  I will order a few extra but mostly in tank tops, and women's sizes, maybe a few children's sizes.
 
Everything seems to be on the move.  Our hummingbirds seem to have moved on, and, in the mornings doing the last of the Turtle Patrols, the skies over the river between Cumberland and Amelia have been filled with endless flocks of birds heading Southwest. 
Also fluttering across Cumberland Sound are the Monarch Butterflies as they fly relentlessly Southward, effortlessly floating on the breeze and air currents.
 
This very large Moon Jelly looks like the beach has been wrapped up with a big pink bow.
 
Another one looks like a full moon rising between two great "beach trees" in the forest.
 
Sometimes an odd color will catch your eye, especially when it is out of place.  This vivid green broccoli stalk contrasted with the earth tones of the beach world.  Often I find whole apples, onions (sometimes a whole sack), and you wonder just how that happened and who lost their food stash out there.  The other day I found a full gallon of milk which had not even been opened washed in upon the beach.
 
My last couple of weeks of patrol, I began to see the Horseshoe Crabs starting their Fall nesting.  I probably counted about 50 nests and caught this one trying to find her way back to the water.
 
After I redeposited her in the river she happily swam away.  Funny critters they are.  So primitive.
 
The copper color and the shape of these links of the old vintage copper necklace reminded me of the Horseshoe Crab.  It's a reminder that the holiday season is closing in fast as I choose to show off one of my favorite sets of Renoir of California collected from the '40's and 50's in "The Islander" magazine's Gift Section.  This particular set is very hard to find.  Maybe someone who has a very small wrist will find this underneath their tree come December.
 
Continuing to work on the Koi Pond.  Little turtle has been changed as it seemed to be the wrong perspective for the view of the pond.
 
Although I won't miss waking at 6:15 am for Turtle Patrol, once awake, I will miss these beautiful sunrises I have been catching lately.  What I will have to concentrate on now is not missing the sunsets. 
 
Sometimes one gets to sit and witness an unusual event in nature.  This was one of those times.  The tall tower in the edge of the river is always a favorite of the Osprey's for sitting and hanging out.  Always only one at a time will be there.  As I was riding up the beach I watched as one lit on the top.  But this time something was different.
 
Two Ospreys seemed to want the same perch and began playing a tag team game taking turns.  There was no real confrontation.  One would head for it and the other would vacate.
 
The displaced one seemed to be looking around and saying "what the heck just happened here"?
 
This dueling went on for quite a while as I just sat and watched knowing that I was getting to witness a rare thing.
 
One after the other lit as they played their King of the Hill game.  The changing of the guard happened over and over until I finally had to get on with my day. 
 
The painting continues to change as I have laid in some basic shapes for the new turtle positions and cleaned all the masking agent off the painting.  I have begun to put the colors into the white areas.  The reason I preserved the white of the undercoat was partially to try something I hadn't tried to see if it would work on canvas.  I knew it would work on paper.  I don't really like how white paint dulls the acrylic colors so I am attempteing to try to use the colors like I do in watercolor letting the white of the surface influence the lightness of colors, giving it a brillance not possible by mixing.  I added the clear acrylic "medium" along with some water to the paint to make it more transparent.  I can't help letting that watercolor background creep into my acrylics.  I started to read a book on working with acrylics early on when I was first starting to work on canvas, and the first words out of the author's pen was to not use acrylics like it was another kind of paint medium.  I immediately gave the book to the first artist who walked into my studio and headed out to find my own way.
 
We had a workshop a week ago.  I had advertised our beautiful Fall weather;  what do I get for the whole three days but a mean Nor'easter.  The wind, fircely blowing sand, and rain prevented any beach access the whole time.  Of course we could have called it a Spa workshop with natural sand dermabrasions and charged lots more.  Surf was about 12 feet high, and with Full Moon and Fall High Tides the water was as high as I have seen it.  We had a lot of beach erosion.
 
Of course for us to get this kind of weather is exciting to residents of the island, who are used to the norm being nice surf and bright sun-shiny days with maybe a rain shower in the afternoon, but not so much when you only have a few days at that beach and they all turn out like this.  This was the humbling surf that lets you know how small and insignificant you are.  It was also the Sea Turtle Nest destroying surf and that is just what it did.  It signaled the end of what was left of the Sea Turtle Season 2011 erasing any that were left.
 
After the workshop-ee's had mostly left, except for two gals who had opted to stay a couple of extra days, the winds died down to a pleasant strong breeze, but the surf was still feeling the effects of the days prior and was still churning.  A good day for beachcombing; but alas I was too busy to be able to do much.  I needed to prepare to head out to Tennessee in two days.
 
I saw the Monarchs fluttering around the beach dunes looking for some flowers to replenish their reserves.  This one is sipping from a tiny Stinging Nettle blossom.  One of my friends, and a very good fisherman, Charlie, told me he had fished the day before in the strong wind and surf from the pier.  He had caught loads of Catfish.  He also had seen bunches of the migrating Monarchs clinging to the plants and riding out the storm.
 
The beach is such an interesting place after a storm, and I was having withdrawals knowing I would not be able to take advantage of it this time.  I watched from the pier longing for a little more time.  I would allow a few minutes for doing my last official Sea Turtle Patrol for the season on foot.  The water had been way too high that morning to ride the beach.  The two remaining nests could be checked by walking in easier.  I checked the beach at the river first to verify that our nest there was indeed gone.  Then I checked the Green Turtle nest on the south end of the beach by using friends, the Clark's, beach walkover to shorten the walk time to reach it.  That nest appeared to be gone also with the all the roots of the plants behind the nests location washed so that only the roots were left clinging to what beach had been left.
 
From the pier, we watched the rough surf as it pounded the jetty and tossed the spray into the air, misting in the breeze.  I was giving a tour of the State Park to the two girls who had stayed over, since they did not have a car.
 
Not a day for fishing off the top of this jetty.
 
One of the Ospreys had managed to make a good catch in the rough water though.
 
This very large gull helped me survey the area, either a Herring Gull or an immature Black Backed Gull, I'm just not very good on my gulls.  It was larger then the usual I know that much.
 
A different color of green is in the Prickly Pear Cactus as its fruit ripens with its pinks and yellow greens, a very pretty combination of almost complimentary colors.  I have not eaten this Prickly Pear fruit but do know that it is edible.
 
I took my guests to Old Town as the last part of the tour and found myself in a garden of Monarchs.  I guess the days of the storm had left them in need of the sweet nectar they were finding on this patch of Spanish Needle and the other flowers.  They were everywhere.  I had not seen this many Monarchs in one place before.
 
The Lantana on the edge of the old Spanish Plaza was also filled with them.  I just went to Ace Hardware and bought one of these plants today.  I am reverting back to what I first started with when I moved here.  Lantana is a semi-wild plant here in Florida which the butterflies love.  Very hardy and comes in such a variety of colors that I have decided to replant it in the flower bed at my back patio, and also will leave some of the Spanish Needle that grows wild in my backyard.  I had originally planted Lantana in that bed when I moved here, but it did so well that I thought it was going to get out of control there and moved it somewhere else.  After this summers fight with the dry weather I am ready for a hardy thriving plant.  It is a real attraction for feeding my Flutterbys, as Bruce calls them.
 
Using the turtle nest as an excuse I allowed myself about 30 minutes to beachcomb, after I dropped off my charges who were more interested in shopping downtown.  After a storm like this you never know what you will find.  I found a nice fossilized vertebrae of some sort on the river and some really beautiful Pen Shells and many, many other shells in my brief walk.  I determined that the Green nest was indeed gone.
 
The iridescent inside of this Pen Shell was so beautiful as it caught the sun's rays on it.  I had to take this one home, and used it as a basket in which to carry my collection of other sea treasures.
 
The bubbles were a nice backdrop for this sweet little beach bird who seemed to just stand his ground as I cautiously moved toward him.
 
My small collection of beach treasures.  The vertebrae, several Sand Dollars of varying size and shades of lavendar, (all dead ones by the way), a beautiful small Deep Sea Scallop Shell and a pretty white clam-like shell.  What girl needs diamonds and gold when they have this kind of treasure to bring home? 
 
The signs of Fall are around us as we are sleeping with the windows open and the A/C off.  We have brief periods when we are reminded it will get colder but we are loving sitting and walking near the beach without sweating.  Its what we say we moved to Florida for; the nice long Falls and Springs.  Lets hope that the Monarch's will leave me some treasures on my Butterfly Weed as they did last year.
 

(Please take a moment to consider:
These photo-stories have always been offered completely free, to simply share the wonders of nature, and life on the Island. Thousands of hours have been poured into them and it has even become necessary to enlist the services of a paid email service to send out the large numbers who now receive them. So, with the current economic situation if you are able to make a small donation to help ensure the continuation of the stories it would be greatly appreciated.)



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